By Ruth Brown, Idaho Reports
The Senate passed a bill to prohibit employers from mandating employees obtain a coronavirus vaccine, including private employers.
Sponsored by Sen. Ben Adams, R-Nampa, SB 1130 passed in a 28-7 party-line vote and heads to the House for approval.
There are exemptions for private businesses that accept Medicaid or Medicare, which would include nearly all hospitals and medical facilities. There are also exemptions for businesses that have federal requirements for the vaccine, as well as for employers that necessitate international travel to countries that require the vaccine.
Senate President Pro Tem Chuck Winder, R-Boise, said in debate that the bill is narrowly tailored.
“To uniformly say everybody needs to get a vaccine to be employed, we think that’s taking it a step too far,” Winder said.
Sen. Ron Taylor, D-Hailey, argued Tuesday that Idaho currently has jobs that mandate drug testing as a requirement of employment. Taylor said he didn’t see how a COVID-19 vaccine was any different.
Sen. Dan Foreman, R-Moscow, argued the bill was not about employers, but about personal freedoms.
“It’s a serious matter, it’s an individual choice and the individual will have to live with the consequences,” Foreman said.